MANILA — Malacañang said Thursday local officials should keep foreign investors in mind when they suspend the business permit of the North Luzon Expressway's (NLEX) cashless toll system operator.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque acknowledged that under the law, local government cannot be deprived of their autonomy to issue and suspend business permits.
"But at the same time, kinakailangan din nilang isipin na babalansehin natin ito dahil iyong mga proyekto na kagaya ng expressways na dinibelop [developed] po ng mga pribadong sector ay baka mamaya eh ma-turn off ang mga future investors kung palaging mangyayari ito," he said in a press briefing.
(They need to remember to balance this because projects like expressways are developed by the private sectors. Future investors could be turned off if this always happens.)
The Valenzuela City government this week suspended the business permit of Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, operator of the NLEX Corp., for failure to comply with the city's demands to improve its service. Officials have complained about the faulty cashless toll sensors that have spawned heavy traffic.
Mayors in Bulacan province have supported Valenzuela City's move and called for temporary provision of NLEX cash lanes to ease traffic buildup in their areas.
The Toll Regulatory Board has directed NLEX operators to replace old and defective toll sensors, regularly upgrade their software system, relocate RFID installation and reloading lanes, and improve customer service, said Roque.
Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian has said NLEX sensors should have at least 95 to 98 percent readability.
"Maganda ho iyong ginagawa ng DOTr (Department of Transportation) na mag-automate. Ang sa akin lang, mali o panget iyong technology na ginamit ng NLEX," the mayor said in a public briefing.
(The DOTr's move to automate is good. For me, what is wrong or bad is the technology used by NLEX.)
"Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, faster and more efficient. Ang problema dito sa kanila, naging mas mahirap ang buhay natin kasi iyong toll plaza, hulaan kung mababasa ka ng sensor o hindi," he added.
Video courtesy of PTV